Philipsburg

Retired P-O teacher celebrates 85th birthday with ‘whole town’

Retired Philipsburg-Osceola teacher Shirley Shore, who turned 85 on Monday, talks to Shawn Arnold at the “Windows to the Past” guesthouse in Philipsburg.
Retired Philipsburg-Osceola teacher Shirley Shore, who turned 85 on Monday, talks to Shawn Arnold at the “Windows to the Past” guesthouse in Philipsburg. srafacz@centredaily.com

Growing up, Shirley Shore usually didn’t have birthday parties.

Her special day falls the day after Christmas, and most of her friends traveled for the holiday, she said.

On Monday, though, her family decided to go all out for her 85th birthday at the “Windows to the Past” guesthouse in Philipsburg.

It’s a big milestone, said daughter Lisa Shore Chorle, whose family owns the Victorian guesthouse.

Shore taught in the Philipsburg-Osceola Area School District for more than 30 years, Chorle said. She taught so many generations of students in the area that the family thought it would be fun to open up the party to the “whole town” — from former students and colleagues to family and friends.

“It’s wonderful to see everyone,” Shore said, adding that some of the faces at the party she hadn’t seen in a long time.

In addition to the traditional Christmas flourish, the guesthouse was decorated with photos, newspaper clippings, books and other mementos from Shore’s past.

It’s like a story of my life, she said.

The party has been something else, Shore said, adding that she’s been in shock since she found out about it. “It’s unbelievable.”

Shawn Arnold, a 2006 P-O grad who now teaches at the high school, said he knew Shore from her days directing shows during the summer to raise money for Philipsburg-Osceola Area High School’s drama club — that was after she had retired.

It’s fantastic to see her, he said. “She’s just a great lady.”

Shore taught English and speech and launched the drama department the high school in the late 1950s.

Though she retired in the late ’90s, she helped Chorle when she took over the drama department at the school, Chorle said.

She was a hard act to follow, Chorle said.

Sarah Rafacz: 814-231-4619, @SarahRafacz

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